For all the fury and fistfights outside the Lansing Capitol, what happened in Michigan this week was a simple accommodation to reality. The most famously unionized state, birthplace of the United Auto Workers, royalty of the American working class, became right-to-work. It’s shocking, except that it was inevitable. Indiana went that way earlier this year. The entire Rust Belt will eventually follow because the heyday of the sovereign private-sector union is gone. Globalization has made splendid isolation impossible. The nostalgics look back to the immediate postwar years when the UAW
Let me offer my thoughts about Susan Rice’s withdrawal from consideration as Secretary of State. First, this decision probably came from the White House. Susan Rice, from everything I’ve heard, isn’t the kind of person who simply walks away from a job like Secretary of State in order to spare the country a contentious confirmation hearing. Second, pushing Rice out, assuming that’s what happened, is a wise decision on Obama’s part. Her confirmation hearing would have focused substantial media attention on Benghazi. That’s the last thing Obama wants or needs. Now that Rice has bowed out,
Only 15 states have fully cooperated with Obamacare by establishing state exchanges. From the CNBC story: Only 15 states have told the federal government they plan to operate health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama’s reform law, leaving Washington with the daunting task of creating online marketplaces for two-thirds of the country. Not all of this is protest, of course. Indeed, other states are setting up hybrid exchanges, and the number of states who go it on their own could rise to 18. plus the DC. But that makes for a difficult slog for the Feds:
WASHINGTON -- Face to face with time running short, President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner negotiated at the White House Thursday night in what aides called "frank" talks aimed at breaking a stubborn deadlock and steering the nation away from an economy-threatening "fiscal cliff." Boehner returned to the Capitol an hour later, briskly walking past reporters without comment. There was no indication whether any progress had been made, though the use of the word "frank" by both sides to describe the talks suggested the president and the speaker stuck hard to their opposing
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice announced Thursday that she was taking herself out of the running to be considered the next Secretary of State. NBC´s Chuck Todd blamed "conservative advocacy media" for forcing Rice´s decision. To Todd, it was nothing but a right-wing witch-hunt. Todd appeared on MSNBC on Thursday and proclaimed that Rice was a victim because she didn´t have a "consulting team or a full PR team" at her disposal. I guess the White House wasn´t enough of a megaphone for her. “It was all driven, in many cases, by some conservative outlets
LONDON — New testimony that emerged Thursday deepened the intrigue surrounding the death of the former K.G.B. officer Alexander V. Litvinenko, offering prima facie evidence of Russian state involvement and indicating that he had been a paid agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, lawyers at a preliminary inquest hearing said. (Snip) Mr. Litvinenko died after ingesting a rare and highly toxic radioactive isotope, polonium 210, which British investigators later traced to a pot of tea served to him at an upscale hotel in Grosvenor Square, opposite the American Embassy in central London. British prosecutors have charged
In popular wisdom, one-time presidential runner-up Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is likely to be nominated by President Barack Obama for Secretary of Defense or Secretary of State. But if Kerry does get the nod, a group credited with helping to thwart his presidential bid could re-organize to take him down once again. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group formed of military veterans who served alongside Kerry, worked to bring attention to the senator’s anti-war activities following his military service and to raise doubts about the truth of Kerry’s own accounts of his conduct
Robert Griffin III is arguably the most popular man in Washington right now. The Redskins’ spectacular rookie quarterback has been winning games, fans, and headlines due to his play this season. Today, he was on the front page of the Washington Post for the third time in a week and a half. Under increasing media scrutiny, Griffin has been clear he does not want to be defined by his race. In a news conference yesterday cited in USA Today, Griffin, an African-American, said, “For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin. You want
For sheer political farce, not much can compete with ObamaCare´s passage, which included slipping the bill through the Senate before dawn three Christmas eves ago. But the madcap dash to get ready for the entitlement´s October 2013 start-up date is a pretty close second. The size and complexity of the Affordable Care Act meant that its implementation was never going to easy. But behind the scenes, even states that support or might support the Affordable Care Act are frustrated about the Health and Human Services Department´s special combination of rigidity and ineptitude.
The House and Senate foreign relations committees have already announced that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify on Benghazi next week, but the State Department said today that´s not a done deal. Moreover, the State Department may not even share the report of its own internal review on Benghazi with Congress, a top State Department official said today. Congress expects Clinton to testify Dec. 20 about the results of the Accountability Review Board, State´s internal review on the events leading up to and during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi
VATICAN CITY- This year´s Vatican nativity scene in St. Peter´s Square is being offered by the Basilicata region in southern Italy, church officials say. The Vatican said sponsors will cover most of the cost, Agenzia Giornalistica Italica reported. The Roman Catholic Church will pay 21,800 euros ($28,500) with 90,000 euros ($117,600) from elsewhere. The scene will include a reproduction of the old town area in the city of Matera, the famed "Sassi di Matera," Vatican Radio said. Joseph and Mary will guard their infant son in a cave like those where many residents of Matera still live.
WASHINGTON- President Barack Obama is poised to match Franklin Roosevelt´s record of being sworn in as the nation´s leader four times. While FDR served four terms, Obama is getting double swearing-in ceremonies for each of his two terms. He´s planning a private oath at the White House on Jan. 20, when the Constitution requires that his second term begin. But since presidential inaugurations are not traditionally on Sundays, his public swearing-in is scheduled Jan. 21. In 2009, Obama had a do-over of his oath the day after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts accidentally mixed up the words
Practically every time he opens his mouth these days, President Obama warns that middle-class taxes will automatically go up on Jan. 1 if Congress fails to act on the fiscal cliff before year´s end. "The typical, middle-class family of four will see an income tax hike of around $2,200. How many of you can afford to pay another $2,200 in taxes?" he says. It´s all meant to scare the public into thinking there´s no hope of keeping middle-class taxes down if a deal isn´t worked out before Dec. 31. But Obama is creating a false sense of urgency — and needlessly scaring millions of middle-class families — simply to
After a contentious closed-door vote, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved a long-awaited report Thursday concluding that harsh interrogation measures used by the CIA did not produce significant intelligence breakthroughs, officials said. The 6,000-page document, which was not released to the public, was adopted by Democrats over the objections of most of the committee’s Republicans. The outcome reflects the level of partisan friction that continues to surround the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other severe interrogation techniques four years after they were banned.
Legacies: Wonders never cease in the Obama era. "Post Communist" Russia is preserving Lenin´s Tomb, while the educational institution most associated with Reaganomics is set to demolish Ronald Reagan´s boyhood home. Ex-KGB officer and "elected" Russian President Vladimir Putin wants the body of Vladimir Lenin, the murderous founder of the Soviet state, preserved in its place of honor in Red Square. Addressing supporters this week, Putin even compared Lenin´s bones to the treasured relics of Russian saints. Communism was responsible for more genocide in the
On Wednesday night’s Real News on The Blaze TV, S.E. Cupp and Glenn Beck engaged in a strategy session focusing on ways to move the Republican party forward in the wake of 2012’s losses. Their conversation centered around the GOP’s historic opposition to gay marriage – both agreed that the party of Lincoln must find a politically amenable solution to move party towards accepting, if not embracing, same-sex marriage rights. In the process, however, Beck became somewhat vexed over the real and persistent problem that religious objections to gay marriage pose to formulating a policy that
Scandal: In a new low for Obama corruption, AP reports that the Homeland Security Department "several times" protected a Democratic senator´s registered sex criminal aide from arrest before November´s election. Letting our ambassador and three other U.S. personnel get murdered by Islamist terrorists in Benghazi by refusing assistance; giving firearms to Mexican drug lords, thus leading to the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in the Fast and Furious scandal; ObamaCare unconstitutionally forcing religious institutions to provide abortion drugs — these are just some of the Obama
The cavalcade of post-election autopsy analysis as the GOP and detractors attempt to make sense of it all has been interesting and instructive. The left-wing mainstream media and Democrats gleefully jeer that the Obama victory is proof positive the GOP is the party of old white men, is racist and sexist and condemned to the annals of history. It’s called gloating, and they are having a simply marvelous time rubbing the collective GOP nose in it. In the fullness of hindsight, history will view President Obama as perhaps the worst of our presidents. And as former GE CEO Jack Welch said, Mitt Romney was
Though the discussion appears to be moot now that Susan Rice has apparently withdrawn her name from consideration to be secretary of state, I agree with Max that the criticism of Rice’s undiplomatic style would seem to be complements when coming from conservatives. (Snip) Liberals, on the other hand, made it personal. Dana Milbank suggested Rice had an attitude problem. Maureen Dowd said Rice was too ambitious and unprincipled for her own good–or the country’s. Yesterday at the Daily Beast, Lloyd Grove launched a bizarre attack on Rice that accused her of having a personality
Nations in the Middle East, some of whom were once allies of the U.S., appear to be defying America. This is very evident when reviewing the events over the past six months in Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, and also among the Palestinians. As former Vice President Dick Cheney stated, "[o]ur allies no longer trust us, or have confidence in us, and our adversaries no longer fear us." (Snip) In Iraq, the government has ignored entreaties from the Obama administration and has freed a top Hezb´allah operative accused of murdering American soldiers. This was after Vice President Joe Biden
One of the most dramatic scenes in Zero Dark Thirty, the new film by Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, takes place in a conference room where the CIA team hunting Osama bin Laden is lambasted by its boss, played by Mark Strong. "There´s no working group coming to the rescue," he says. "There´s nobody else, hidden away on some other floor. There is just us. And we are failing." (Snip) Much of the pre-release debate about the movie has focused on whether it portrays torture as effective, in the sense of prying information out of Al Qaeda suspects.
"I’m so excited!” exclaimed one of my dearest friends as she sat down for my Kwanzaa dinner a few years ago. “This is my very first Kwanzaa celebration.” Candle representing the seven Kwanzaa principles on display during the annual celebration at the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum. (Mark Gail - The Washington Post) Then only 5-years-old, my perplexed son J responded, “But Auntie Baby, I thought you were American?!?!” J was correct. Auntie Baby was a white American. But J was incorrect in thinking that every American celebrated Kwanzaa. I first started celebrating the holiday
In Johnson City, Tenn., a town tucked into the state´s far northeast corner, Christmas lights and decorations brighten the streets and shops, and shoppers mill about, brimming with gifts for family and friends. Timothy St. John and his son, 3-year-old Anthony, can just watch. (Snip) The solution? Father and son make toys—Anthony´s favorite superheroes—together from scratch. "We make them from paper, from sticks, from whatever we have, and we fashion his favorite characters," he says. "They don´t speak or light up, but for a little boy, they still feel like presents." It´s Christmastime in a
Albany, NY - A Republican who cast the deciding vote to legalize gay marriage in New York has conceded he lost his re-election bid. Veteran state Sen. Stephen Saland´s (SUH´-lahndz) defeat means three of the four Republicans who cast critical votes for gay marriage in June 2011 won´t be returning to the Senate. Saland´s concession Thursday ends a long count of absentee ballots in the Hudson Valley race, in which Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo (KWOH´-moh) praised him for what he called a courageous vote of conscience. Democrat Terry Gipson wins the 41st Senate District race.
TRENTON — Two New Jersey lawmakers are floating an idea to delay or cancel standardized tests for students this year because of school disruptions from Hurricane Sandy. "For me, this is the storm of a lifetime, and I think there either needs to be either a timetable extension for when you give the test or a moratorium on a test," said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen). "Why is it so important this year?" Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex) said she thinks students are going through a “post-traumatic stress situation
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Facebook is making changes to its privacy settings. First, it is improving some privacy protections. The company is adding a new top-level control, called Privacy Shortcuts, that will allow people to quickly change who can see their “stuff” (as Facebook calls it) and who can contact them through the Web site. The shortcut will also feature a one-button link to block someone on Facebook. In a phone interview, Sam Lessin, Facebook’s director of product, said these shortcuts will always be visible to people on Facebook as they navigate the site.